Why you should not fear failure?

Thomas Alva Edison invented the electric bulb in 1879.
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the US.
J K Rowling wrote the best-selling book series.

Are we talking about successful people here? We are just talking about their success. What about the efforts behind the scene?

What if Edison left experiment on bulb at 9999th attempt?
What if Lincoln gave up in pursuing his dreams after failing in multiple areas?
What if Rowling never approached a publisher again after being rejected a lot of times?

Would they still be called successful?

If you just open the dictionary and look for the definition of fail, you will be taken aback. It says lack of success. Lack of light is darkness. Lack of success is failure. Aren’t successes and failures our definitions then?

We define success as the destination. Reaching the destination is success. Not reaching it is failure. You should be hurt. It should be accompanied by mourning and grieving. You should condemn it. Term the people who don’t succeed by that definition as failures. Who defined success? Can we not change the definition of success? Can we not associate failure with pleasure?

The biggest mistake we as a society does today is defining the efforts without end result as failure. We don’t appreciate the efforts at all. Success and failure are defined as binary codes of 1 and 0. We need to change this approach if we ever want to make any progress in life. We need to associate failure with pleasure because failure gives us valuable experience which we would have never got being successful.

What happens if you continue to define end result as success?

 
1.You will be afraid to try new things:

By succeeding in life, you have just escaped an event where you didn’t fail. But for how long will you escape? Every day you have to live in the fear that what if I fail tomorrow. You will limit yourself to only those ways where you know how to succeed. Don’t you want to explore life?

2.You will only be result focused:

Result is not in your control. You can only control your efforts. Trying to control anything which is not under our control always leads to unhappiness. Your life revolves only around results. Not reaching those puts you under immense stress which further deteriorates your health.

3.You will have more regrets in life:

Life of regrets is worse than life of efforts not yielding any result. The latter one teaches you why it did not work, the former one stops you living your life.

4.You will hardly have any learning:

The person who found whatsapp was rejected by facebook. If he was not rejected, we would have never had this economical messaging feature at all.

How to overcome the fear of failure?

You overcome the fear of failure by embracing it.

Fail today and see the difference. It will hurt in the beginning. You feel all the efforts going waste. But wait! Was it a waste? Didn’t it give you an experience? You know what methods don’t work.
 
The one who succeeded only knows one way. The way to success. If you tweak the way a little, he is confused. He goes back to the fear of failure.But the one who failed knows all the ways which don’t work. Tweaking the way won’t scare him. He will fail more valorously then. Or after all the failures he might just succeed.

The one who failed knows the exhaustive ways in which things don’t work. He is more knowledgeable.

The one who succeeded would have done by chance. His knowledge is limited to only one way of success. He doesn’t know the obvious ways in which one might fail.

So fail today. Embrace the feeling. Learn from the experience. And fail in a greater way tomorrow.

Failure does not define what you are as a person. It does not mean anything at all. Every event has an outcome. It just depicts the outcome.
Don’t make just one thing as your life.

Who is called a failure in life?

The one who has failed according to the dictionary definition and considered himself a failure. The one who ceased to be oneself because of the outcome.

What can you do to change the culture?

Reward yourself for the efforts and not for the result. Question yourself everyday –” Am I enjoying this?”

There is nothing called as failing and succeeding in fact. They are just words. If you assign a meaning to them they exist or else they don’t. It is all about the journey. The enjoyment in the journey is all what matters. Enjoy your life today because you don’t know when your last breath is going to be.

Happy failing!

How to feel powerful

My friend wanted to be a civil servant. Whenever I asked him why civil services, he said “ I want to be powerful. Power gives you everything you need.”

Another friend of mine, looks at civil services as the most powerless jobs. He is someone who can keep all his bosses under his control.

Who sounds more powerful to you?

What is power?

Dictionary defines it as the ability to do anything or influence others.

Classic definition of power by Weber

The ability of an individual or group to achieve their own goals or aims when others are trying to prevent them from realising them

According to this definition, in an informal context, who is powerful? You or your partner?

It is not a shameful thing to crave for power. The ones who feel powerful are more confident than those who are not. At the same time, feeling powerful can make you overconfident if you look at others as totally powerless.

What makes you feel powerful?

My first friend wanted power through position. It is the position in an organisation. He wanted the authority to take decisions. It can be day to day decisions on running an organisation or monetary decisions or who to reward or punish. He wanted to rule. That made him powerful.
 
My second friend had power by being an expert at what he did. He had the information which others don’t. People are naturally attracted to him for the way he carries himself. He holds the power to influence people for these characteristics of his.

What characteristics do you possess? What if you have neither type of power?

How to feel powerful?

1.Display proofs

Irrespective of which level you are in the organisation, carry your position tag. When I was in school, I had a badge for class leader and first ranker. I was definitely viewed as more powerful than what I was.

Get your name printed on a visiting card. When they look at a card, they assume that you hold the power to take decisions. My uncle gives me a visiting card every time I meet him. I thought he was an influential person.

Keeping aside the position, get good at the job you are doing. Earn reward for the work you do. Display those certificates. They make you look more credible.When one acquaintance of mine received an award at work, I thought she is better than what I actually thought she was.

Research shows that when you do this, other people perceive you as more powerful than you actually are.

 
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2.Dress up well

At a sales stall you want to approach the manager, if there is a person wearing a suit and other one wearing a T-shirt who will you approach?

Most of the people approach the one in suit. They assume him to be the manager.

So your dressing sense will make others perceive you as less or more powerful.

3.Be nice to others

When you do favors to others when they are in need, they feel obliged to return it back to you. The more helpful person you are, the more powerful you become.

When you talk in a nice way and don’t act entitled, you are on your way to building powerful connections.

4.Body posture

Open body posture makes you feel more powerful than closed body posture. When you are in a room, check whether you are trying to take as little space as possible or are ready to sit comfortably. Just by changing your posture you can change your mindset which in turn makes you powerful.

5.Affirmation and Visualization

Keep telling yourself that you are powerful. I am not a powerful person when compared to both my friends. But when I need to influence others, I use this technique. I am tell myself that I am powerful enough to do this.

You can also visualize what it feels like to be in a powerful state. Or else you can even recollect a past incident where you felt powerful. This alone can make you feel powerful.

6.Question the beliefs
 
If you believe or someone else tells you that you are not powerful, question the belief. Dissect it. Turn the statement to make you a powerful person. Never let others pull you down.

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What sort of power do you possess or crave for? When did you feel most powerful? Which technique are you going to use to feel more powerful?

Share them with us in the comments section.

Happy feeling powerful!  

How to be nice to people

Case 1
 
Mentor: You suck at communication.
Mentee : Okay!
 
Case 2
 
Mentor: From tomorrow I will teach you tricks to communicate better.
Mentee: I am more than happy to learn Sir!
 
Whenever you communicate, there are two ways to communicate it. One is by being harsh (case1) and the other is by being nice(case2). But why are we harsh most of the time?
 

People are harsh for a variety of reasons.

 
1.Fear of being taken advantage of:
 
A few people when asked why they are harsh all the time, they said that they are afraid that people will take advantage of them if they are nice all the time. It might be true at a few times. But remember that god helps those who help others.
 
2.Showing bossiness:
 
A few other people assume that they can’t get work done if they are not demanding things from others.
 
3.Attitude:
 
They think they are at a higher level than others. It can even be because that they give so much to the other person. Hence they think they have the right to be harsh.
 

People are nice for a variety of reasons:

 
1.They want to be known as someone good:
 
Everyone likes nice people. They don’t feel the fear to communicate with them. But the people who are nice because they want to be perceived as nice suffer a lot internally unable to bear the pressure.
 
2.It is their inborn nature:
 
Some people are born that way. They are nice all their life.
 
Which group do you fall under?
 
You need not necessarily fall in the two groups. You might be in the mixed group where sometimes you are harsh and sometimes you are nice. You are harsh to people whom you take for granted. You know that they will be there irrespective of whether you are nice or rude to them. You act nice to people under whose eyes you want to be a good person.
 

What are the disadvantages of acting to be nice?

 
You might get all the expected benefits of being nice. But you are being a person, whom you actually are not. This adds up to unnecessary internal stress which makes you show this anger on a person whom you take for granted. If you recall, there might be instances where you tried being nice to your boss even though he made you stay till late in the night and ended up screaming at your kids for no mistake of theirs. We do this all the time and make our relations weak and unhealthy. The child does not understand that you had a bad day at office. All it understands is “Mumma does not like me. She only shouts at me all the time”. It was not your intention to convey that. So we need to stop this displacement of annoyance.
 

How to be nice?

 
1.Being aware
 
The assumption that action and reaction take place simultaneously is false. There is a small gap between action and reaction. We need to hack into this and take advantage of this. Whenever you catch yourself snapping, wait for a moment, try to rephrase your statement and let it out.
 
2.Lighten the moment:
 
If you could not catch yourself in the previous step, make your next statement in a friendly, loving or funny way. Lighten the atmosphere. If you have just screamed at your child that she is troubling you everyday for food. In the next statement mention that you love her and that is the reason why you get angry. Or make the food in children friendly way. Make the food into cartoon shape. Use some creativity. Make things fun.
 
Happy being nice!

2 Values which guarantee Success

I have nothing to write today. But I am still writing this. I had been sick for the past few days. The medicine makes me feel drowsy. I am writing in that drowsy state. I can put the blame on my illness and take a break. But I know that is not playing a fair game.
 
Actually, this is not the post I wanted to publish today. The articles which I have written today are nowhere good enough to publish. I wrote one after another and just pushed them to drafts.
 
According to me, two things matter the most for success in life. Don’t ask me what success means. I will rewrite my sentence. There are two things which I value in a person. Let me put it this way. There are two things which differentiates a normal human from the extraordinary human.
 

1.Grit

 
When I read the book grit, I was tired reading the innumerable examples the  author wrote. At that time, I just thought it is a nice concept. But today, after a lot of observation in my real life and book life, I have decided that grit is what makes you or breaks you.
 
Today at work, I was trying to code to read text from an image. The image was not clear. My code was not working on that. After two hours, I gave up. I did not give up because it was difficult. I gave up because I thought there must be an easier way to do it and I am not smart enough to figure out the easy way.
 
Now this brings us to the second step.
 

2.Growth mindset

 
A person with growth mindset will never feel limited about his intellectual capacity. He will do whatever it takes to grow beyond what he is gifted with. Now when I am writing this post, I am writing it because I want to grow. I understand my limitations that I am not gifted with this. But there is always a capacity and ability to grow into what I want to be.
 
I am grittier to write an article after article till I found that something sounds worth publishing. I have a growth mindset which tells me that this is the best I can give for today.
 
Tomorrow I will go back and redo the image processing in R with different techniques. I am gritty. I want to be different from the normal human.
 
How about you?
 
How do you want to be grittier? How do you want to change your mindset?
 
Happy becoming grittier!

How to talk so people will listen

It is basic human need to want to be heard. But many a times you don’t know how to talk so people pay attention. You end up getting frustrated and blame the way you are or your position.
 
But making people listen to you has got nothing to do with how interesting you are. Let’s do a simple exercise.
 
When was the last time you were totally lost in listening to someone? What made you listen to them with such an attention? Was it the way they dressed? Was it the content? Or was it their position?
 
Even though content is an important factor to add value to the listener, it is not what makes people glued to you. There is something beyond that.
 
Once when I met a friend, we were out of topics for conversing. We were playing the you tell more game. I said “ You have lot of interesting things to say. There is nothing interesting in my life.” Then he said, “ I am telling you mundane things only. I am just narrating it interestingly.” That statement left me thinking. The way to make people listen to you is not the content.
 

How should you talk?

 
1.Talk about the core idea
 
Let’s say you want to talk about your house. If you mention that your house has 10 doors and 20 windows and 7 rooms, people will sleep off half way. Instead, if you mention that you have a spacious house with a good ventilation, people will understand the core idea you are trying to convey.
 
2.Analogies
 
Do you explain mutual funds to a 5 year old kid in technical terms? You will explain it by taking examples of chocolates. Similarly in your daily life conversations if you explain your ideas with analogies which people can connect to, they will find it interesting.
 
3.Use unconventional ways
 
Once when my friend asked for directions to my house, “ i said get down at bus stop and keep walking till you find a big garbage can and then take right there. Keep walking till you find an old brown coloured gate house.”
 
Instead if I told her, “Take left, then take right and come to house number 123”, she would have for sure forgotten.
 
My friend even today finds it disgusting that I used garbage can as a landmark.
 
4.Tell it as a story
 
“ I met an interesting woman”. None of your friends will listen. If you start describing what is interesting with the details, then they will listen to you.
 
5.Use numbers in context
 
“Bangalore is 709 sq km in area” . Okay. So what now?
 
“ Bangalore is as big as Singapore country.” There you know the significance of the size.
 
What talking style have you noticed in people you love listening to? Share it with us in the comments section.
 
Happy talking in a way people will listen!

Why should you speak up?

Today, in my class I was teaching an easy topic. I told my students to stop me if I was going too fast or if they can’t follow some topic. For the first half an hour, they did not stop me. I once again reminded them that they can feel free to stop me. Then one student asked me to explain in detail. Finally one student spoke up. I felt happy.
 

What happens when you don’t speak up?

 
1.People will assume
 
I would have assumed that everyone in the class was intelligent. They are able to follow easily. I should not waste their time by going in detail. Unless he spoke up, I did not understand that he was not able to do it. Last week, when I was explaining the details, one student spoke up and told me that they already know the details. I will only be able to tailor the class to the students needs only when the speak without any hesitation.
 
I never tell my mom if the food she cooked goes bad someday. But my friend calls up his mother right at the lunch table to inform his mom that the food that day was not good. His mother now has the feedback and knows what went wrong and what to improve. Or else she would have thought that she was an impeccable cook.
 
2.People will never be able to understand you
 
If you hide things, no one can dissect your brain and extract your opinions. If you are uncomfortable about something, you need to speak up and tell what your problem is.
 

Why people don’t speak up?

 
Most of them don’t speak up for the fear of being judged. Just think once, how will others opinion about you change what you truly are. You live your life for yourself. Not for others.
 

What happens when you speak up?

 
1.It inspires others
 
When the first student spoke about what he could not follow, it inspired other students to express freely on what they did not understand. When you speak up, you change the culture around you.
 
2.You will get what you want
 
In my group of friends, one girl got married very easily while the other is still struggling. When we analysed what went right or wrong, the girl who got married was the one who was sure about what she wanted and got across her point without beating around the bush. When you want something, you need to just ask for it without any hesitation.
 
3.Helps you connect better
 
Who do you like to interact with?
 
You ask a friend which coffee he likes
 
A: “I like black latte coffee”
B(shyfully) : “I am okay with anything.”
 
You will go out next time with A because he is more open. You can talk about things freely without having the fear of offending the other person.
 
4.Makes you more likable
 
I tend to like people who are open about what they think. I like their individuality.
 
5.You will be remembered
 
I remember people who speak out. I remember them as people who speak out their mind.
 
The head of my account remembers me because I voice out concerns. The last time when I hadn’t spoke up, he was worried if everything was fine with me or not.
 
That is the power of speaking up.
 
Why do you not speak up? What happened when you spoke up finally? Share it with us in the comments section.
 
Happy speaking up!
 

Who can change your life?

A mentor will guide you in the right way, tracks your progress and gives you the right advice at the right time. He has the potential to change your life.
 
An accountability partner pushes you out of your comfort zone and helps you keep your commitment. He also has the potential to change your life.
 
Books are man’s best friends. In the absence of the above, they can change your life.
 
But, inspite of all of them, you might not see any change in your life. Your life only keeps deteriorating. You feel out of control.
 
Why is that?
 
You have everything externally available, the one who can take action on it is only ‘YOU’. You are the only one who can take responsibility for your life.
 
Your mentor can’t do it.
 
Your accountability partner can’t do it.
 
Books can’t do it.
 
Only you can.
 
“ But I am doing my best already!”. You might think that is the case. But you call as the best and what is actually best might be different. You need to do a reality check if you are actually giving your best.
 

How many of the below do you do?

 
1.Expect things to change automatically
 
You have a problem. You do nothing about it. And you expect things to turn into your favour.
 
Let us say your house owner asks you to vacate. You don’t have an own house. After the final deadline, you just have to stay on the roads. And you still don’t do anything about it. You expect God to come and show you where to live? Do you expect some friend of you to get a dream and provide you place to stay? None of these is practically possible. Higher chances are you will end up on the road only.
 
So go accept that change has to be made and make the change. Be responsible for the changes you need to make to your life.
 
2.Complain vaguely
 
“ I am sick”
 
Okay! You are sick. So what now? How will I be able to guide you unless you tell me what your symptoms are?
 
If you are complaining and just expect to be heard, no one can change your life. Your life will change only when you complain in the right way. Express your problem in detail so that others can guide you for the exact action you can take to see the change in your life.
 
3.Complain to the wrong person
 
You don’t go to your beautician and complain in detail about your tooth ache. Only a clear symptoms of your tooth ache expressed to your dentist can alleviate your pain and bring the change you want to see in your life.
 
4.Complain in the right way and still don’t do anything about it
 
You get across your pain points to the right people and in the right way. You receive the right advice and know how it can change your life. But you still do nothing. You sit like a log with a clear map in front of your eyes.
 
How is your life ever going to change then?
 
‘YOU’
 
It is you alone who can bring the change.
 
If you are stuck in the bottom most stage, go start climbing the ladder. Get rid of the attitude of the point 1. Learn to speak effectively from point 2. Know the right people from point 3. Finally become the action taker.
 
You are the only person who can take charge of your life and change it.
 
What do you think brings the change? Share it with us in the comments section.
 
Happy seeing the change!
 

Should you take the entire responsibility?

I was at the lowest level in my team at office. But I was the only one who used to take the entire responsibility for the work team needed to do. By now, you must have guessed what the consequences were.
 
1.My manager had peaceful sleep at night because he knows work will be taken care of.
2.My teammates never feared their job because they know work was being taken care of.
 
Who was at loss? Only me.
 
Did I do it because I wanted fame, attention or promotion? No. I didn’t do it for any of those. I had to do it for one simple reason. I was afraid of going against people. I didn’t know how to delegate work. I didn’t even know that I had a right to delegate.
 
I learnt two things then.
 
1.Delegation is not tough.
2.No one thrusts responsibility down your throat. You take it.
 
Let’s take a case of a family. The parents are irresponsible. They don’t take any care of the maintenance of the house. Of the two sons they have, only the elder one takes the entire burden of the house.
 
Over a period of time, he breaks down. He finds life burden-some and overwhelming. He is not able to take care of things like before due to over stress.
 
Who is at loss now?
 
Not just him. The entire family is.
 
Why?
 
1.The family doesn’t know what the responsibilities are.
2.Now they don’t have even the one who takes care of it.
 
What happens next?
 
There is chaos everytime a new problem comes. Blame game is the only thing they do. If one person takes responsibility due to lack of choice, the other one finds fault with it. At the end, entire family gets divided because of the constant hurts.
 
These are just a few examples. You must be a part of a group or a team where the situation might be something of this sort. What can you do about this?
 
1.Never take the entire responsibility
 
Identify who is good at what. Allocate each of them the responsibility accordingly. Hold them accountable if the work is not done. Ask them what is the fine they are going to pay if the work is not done by agreed time. At the same time, be flexible. Be cordial and understanding if they are not able to do it due to unforeseen circumstances.
 
2.Don’t give up the responsibility all of a sudden
 
If you abandon all of a sudden like the elder brother of the family, the entire system will break down. If none of them have any capabilities, train them slowly.
 
How do you handle such situations? Share with us your tips to handle the situation better.
 
Happy sharing responsibilities!
 

7 Lessons learnt from a trip to Book Store

From the time I figured out that going to a book store gives me happiness, I have been visiting it frequently. Every time I visit one, I rediscover myself.
 
I learnt these lessons today.
 
1.If you don’t bring your ideas to fruition, others will do it
 
I had a couple of ideas on what I wanted to write books as, I wrote them all and abandoned them half-way. I thought they were not worthy enough to be finished. Today, I saw books with same ideas on book-shelf.
 
It is not just about writing a book, but the more you delay working on your dreams by giving excuses the more regrets you will end up with.
 
Hurry up. Start working on your ideas. Later on don’t cry if your idea leaves you because you are not paying attention to it.
 
2.Irrespective of how much you deny, you are a judge
 
According to Kahneman, we think in two ways. The first way of thinking is judging. Even though I don’t want to, I judge a book by its cover. I decide which book I might like based on the way the cover is designed. Then the title. Then by skimming through the content. You might think I am a shallow person but how do I pay my attention to the hundreds of books in the store in the limited time.
 
If I restrict myself to just one section of the store, I make sure that I do justice to all of them. But if I am falling short of time, I become a judge.
 
Even in life, we judge easily. We need to put in conscious efforts to avoid that.
 
3.It is only the mask which keeps changing
 
You read 2 books on the same topic. Now the third book, will have similar content but written in a different way.
 
4.Everyone has their own taste
 
If my mom and I go to the same section, she likes the books which I will never pick up. The reason is simple. She prefers something which is written in a straight-forward way. While I need the book to be written in a heavily researched way.
 
5.You can become an expert in anything over time
 
Initially, I used to not know which books I will like and which I won’t. Now I know what style of writing and content I will love. I know how to select the right books for myself.
 
6.Presentation matters
 
I saw a book by Bibek Debroy. I opened it excitedly to see if it is based on research on Indian Railways. The book looked like a facts collection than a story which was being told. I haven’t read the book. I am not the right judge. But from its presentation, that is what I felt. Instead if the presentation looked like a story, I would have jumped and bought it.
 
7.If you go seek, you might hit a gold mine
 
There were many books in the store which I would not have known if I just searched for them online. To put it in another way, I would not have known that there is knowledge available on those topics if I would not have stumbled on them today.
 
Sometimes you have to go seek things instead of just searching for what you already know.
 
What makes you come alive? What is the best lesson you learned from it? Share it with us in the comment section.
 
Happy living your dreams!